This isn’t going to be your typical New Year’s Eve blog post telling you about all of my new year’s resolutions (I’ve done that before – here and here) or telling you how I accomplished all of my resolutions from last year (I’ve done that before too…here). I’m not here to inspire you and get you amped up for 2015 because there are enough of those blogs out there right now. This blog is going to be feisty and honest because that’s just how I’m feeling today.
Maybe it’s a you problem
All day I’ve seen posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram summing up their lives in 2014, talking about their resolutions for 2015 and posting their favorite pictures of the year. And that’s awesome. Really, it is. But I’ve also seen a lot of those posts saying, “2014 was a terrible year. I can’t wait for 2015 so I can start over.” And I see those posts every single year. Mostly by the same people. So I started thinking, “you said 2013 was terrible and that you were going to make 2014 even better. Now, 2014 is coming to an end and you’re saying the same thing you said last year. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not the world’s fault you’ve had a shitty year. Maybe it’s a you problem.”
Yes, I know that sounds harsh. Even a little bitchy, but let’s be honest with ourselves. Did you have a bad year because everything around you was terrible, or did you have a bad year because your attitude about everything around you was terrible? It’s not always black and white, and sometimes it’s a little bit of both. But I can’t help but think it’s more about your attitude rather than your actual year.
I’m not going to lie, I had some absolutely horrible things happen to me in 2014. I had times where I felt like my entire world was crashing down around me. Times when I felt like my life wasn’t worth living, and times where I wanted to throw in the towel. I watched my family move away, my relationship was a roller coaster ride and I stepped out of my comfort zone many times (at the time, those things didn’t feel “good” or “happy.” They felt terrible.) But despite all of those things, 2014 wasn’t a bad year. In fact, I’d say it was a great one. I left a job that made me unhappy and started a new one, I started working out again, I stepped out of my comfort zone, completed a Tough Mudder and got engaged. If I wanted to, I could look at the bad and say, “all of those terrible things happened, so it was a terrible year.” But I choose not to have that outlook. Every day, I wake up and make the conscious decision to let the good outweigh the bad. Since I’ve started doing that, I’ve found that my life is more fulfilling and more enjoyable. I’ve also found that I’m so much happier.
Stop making excuses and watch your attitude change
When I was in high school, one of my teachers told me that his favorite thing about me was that I never made excuses. He said that whenever something bad happened or whenever I made a mistake, I never made an excuse as to why it happened. Instead, I chose to own up to it. He told me that attitude would get me far and that it would allow me to live a happy and healthy life some day. I didn’t really get it at the time, because I was in such a negative place at the time, but I get it now. And I think it applies to this.
I’m sure 2014 wasn’t all you hoped it would be. I’m sure that your boyfriend breaking up with you, your parents getting mad at you or failing a class was all pretty shitty. But what was your attitude when it happened? Did you let it get you down? Did you make an excuse as to why that bad thing happened to you (the professor sucked, my parents are stupid, my ex didn’t realize how awesome I am, etc.)? Or did you look at that bad situation and think, “okay, so it didn’t go my way, but I’m going to learn from this”?
Life isn’t all about what happens to you. It’s also about how you react to what happens to you. You can choose to make excuses for why things happen or you can own up to your mistakes and grow from it. There’s really no right or wrong way to handle a situation, but I can tell you from experience that choosing to learn and grow is a much better way to go about it. Since I stopped making excuses, I’ve found that I can look back on a year and see the positives rather than the negatives. On New Year’s Eve, when I look back on the last 365 days, I see growth, change and progress rather than negativity and blame.
If, year after year, you’re looking back on the year and thinking about how terrible it was, think to yourself, “is this the world’s fault or is it my own?” It’s not always an easy question to ask, and sometimes it hurts like hell to realize the truth. But you may find that the secret to a great year (or even day/week/month) is to change your attitude and perspective. When you do this, you may find that your year wasn’t quite as bad as you thought.
So, what are you most excited about for 2015? For me, I’m excited to start planning my wedding and to accomplish my health and fitness goals!